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Texans Need To Stop Their Denial

Oct 12, 2007
Denial isn't a river that runs through Egypt. It's an emotional state that many individuals in Austin, Dallas, Houston and elsewhere in Texas put themselves through on a daily basis.

For many individuals, denial is an unconscious coping mechanism which grants a person time to adjust to a distressing situation. But when denial goes on too long, it can interfere with a person's reality and their ability to move forward.

Someone who's in denial isn't being realistic about something that needs to be addressed directly; something that's very obvious. When an individual is in denial, he or she appears to be pretending that something isn't happening or isn't true.

A little denial can be a good thing and being in denial for a short period can be a healthy coping mechanism. But denial does have a dark side. If it becomes a long-term situation, it can prevent an individual from dealing with issues that need to be addressed immediately. When this occurs, it can be due to a variety of reasons, such as mental illness, cancer, chronic illness, terminal illness and addiction.

Denial can also be harmful when it prevents individuals from getting appropriate treatment. Without treatment, they end up facing potentially devastating long-term affects.

Denial is considered to be an unconscious process. In other words, an individual doesn't choose to be in denial. It may seem that refusing to face the facts is never a healthy way to cope. In some cases, though, a short period of denial may actually be beneficial. Being in denial gives your mind the opportunity to unconsciously absorb shocking or distressing information at a pace that won't send you into a psychological tailspin.

When faced with extreme events, it's alright to say, "I just can't face this right now." This approach may give you time to work through what's happened and adapt to the situation. But it's also important to know that avoiding the situation is still a state of mind; it won't change the reality of the situation.

How can you know you're in denial and make sure that denial of difficult life situations aren't hurting or doing psychological damage? If someone you trust tells you that you're in denial, remember these tips:

- Ask yourself what you fear.
- Think about the negative consequences of not taking action.
- Allow the expression of fears and emotions.
- Identify the irrational beliefs about the difficult situation.
- Start a journal about the experience.
- Talk to a trusted friend.
- Sign up for a support group.

If you're not making progress managing a stressful situation and feel you might be stuck in denial, consider talking to a mental health provider. A professional can help you find more positive ways of handling and coping with the situation rather than pretending it's not happening.

If you or a loved one is in denial about a serious health issue, approaching the issue may be difficult. Get some support and empathetic listening. Offer to meet together with a doctor or mental health provider.
About the Author
Pat Carpenter writes for Precedent Insurance Company. Precedent puts a new spin on health insurance. Learn more at Precedent.com
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